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The Brew Crew was an element of the NAT that can easily be confused as being a sub-section of the Peace Convoy, due to the character of its members, but is more accurately and very simply described as specific to its namesake-Carlsberg Special Brew, or rather, its consumption. The members themselves were many and varied, and may or may not identify with the appellation, which was variously a mildly critical epithet, or taken up proudly as a banner to reclaim the name.

The New Age Travellers' movement had faced significant opposition by the British government and mainstream media, epitomised by the authorities' attempts to prevent camps at Stonehenge. The resultant Battle of the Beanfield (WP) in 1985 was the largest mass civil arrest in English history.

In 1986 and subsequent years, police again blocked the "Peace Convoy" (as they had become identified by the media) from "taking the Stones" on the Summer Solstice (June 21). This led many Travellers to spend summers squatting by the hundreds, on several sites adjacent to the A303 motorway in Wiltshire.

Many people see the Castlemorton Common Festival in 1992, a week-long festival that attracted up to 30,000 travellers and ravers, as a significant turning point for New Age Travellers in Britain as it directly resulted in the government granting new powers to police and local authorities under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to prevent such events in the future. The Criminal Justice Act included sections against disruptive trespass, squatting and unauthorised camping which made life increasingly difficult for travellers, and many left Britain for Ireland and Europe, particularly Spain.

See New Age Travellers

The clash of lifestyles culminated in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 making trespass a criminal act, largely aimed at this group, and also traditional traveller groups like English Gypsies and Irish Travellers.

Housetrucks and camping at Nambassa 1981

In lieu of an image of the Convoy, the decidedly more domestic housetrucks at the Nambassa (WP) 5-day festival, 1981

The Battle of the Beanfield was not the end of the convoy, and they continued for some time further until a final conflict was provoked by the government at Stoney Cross in the run up to the following year's solstice.

At Stoney Cross the police impounded vehicles on a large scale, in a high-profile effort to put an end to the convoy and to again prevent it from reaching Stonehenge for the solstice.

Many members of the convoy continued their journey on foot and eventually reached Stonehenge. Despite what some saw as a moral victory, the legal landscape had been changed to the extent that it was no longer possible for the convoy to function.


Carlsberg Special Brew Edit

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For an album by Bad Manners see Special Brew (album).

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Special Brew is a very strong lager (sometimes known as premium lager) brewed in Denmark and the United Kingdom. It comes in a can with a distinctive gold and red colour.

Special Brew was first brewed by Carlsberg to commemorate a visit to Denmark of Winston Churchill in 1950. In May 1951 two crates were delivered to Churchill's London home. In a thank you letter Churchill called the drink "Commemoration Lager". In Denmark the drink was called Påskebryg (Easter Brew), but the Easter Brew has been replaced by a weaker beer (Carls Påske). For the British market Carlsberg called the drink Special Brew and production was started in Northampton in the 1950s.

At 9% alcohol Special Brew is one of the strongest lagers freely available in the United Kingdom, without going to a specialist shop. Some people will say that Special Brew should more properly be described as a Barley Wine, rather than a lager.

In the UK Special Brew is occasionally available in bottles in pubs, but it is almost never served draft. Most pubs refuse to sell it because its high alcohol content leads to excessive drunkenness and unwarranted behaviour among customers. However it is widely sold in off licences and supermarkets nationwide. Special Brew is extremely popular among the homeless and travelling community, and off licence owners will often say it is their best selling item. Its reasonably low price and high alcohol content allow users to become extremely drunk quickly at a low cost should they desire to do so. Drinkers also enjoy the drink for its strong syrupy taste and many will often refute its image as a tramps and travellers drink. As a result Special Brew is sometimes called 'Tramp juice' or 'Tramps piss'.[1] Many consumers can be seen to have a strong affinity with the drink, as shown in the tribute song by Bad Manners "Special Brew". There is also a tribute band to the two tone era located in Dublin Ireland who are called Special Brew. They took their name from the Bad Manners hit.

In Denmark, where stronger beers are more common, Special Brew enjoys a more refined image and it is a popular drink sold nationwide.

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